Website terms template: moderated directory, blog or review site
- Attorney approved
- Plain English makes editing easy
- Guidance notes included
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About this terms and conditions template
This terms and conditions template is suitable for sites that primarily provide information but also contain features that allow visitors to interact with the site, whether posting comments on an article or blog, or exploring an interactive product model.
Examples of sites that would use this template would include:
- the website of a business that does not trade online (such as an accountants' practice or a manufacturer), but which perhaps encourages a modest level of visitor interaction;
- personal or corporate blogs (including those on which visitors may leave comments);
- magazines or review sites (such as ones reviewing restaurants or gadgets) where articles have been written by approved writers;
- a directory of local businesses where the information is verified before publication;
- websites of charities and not-for-profit organisations (such as members' clubs or sports clubs).
This template does not include provisions for payment or subscription for access, so your site should be free to browse.
Your site users could be businesses or private individuals or both.
This template has been written to cover international use because sites that would use such a template are likely to attract visitors from across the world. It has been written to comply with South African law, but much is likely to be enforceable in many other legal jurisdictions as well.
Although it is slightly 'lighter' on terms governing how visitors use your site than the alternatives we offer (see below), this template still contains numerous provisions to help protect your site and your business.
The benefit of clear terms and conditions
Using this document on your website will help you:
- set out clearly how your site and business work, the service you provide and what you expect from site users;
- present a professional image of your site. Our use of plain language helps ensure visitors do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language;
- prevent misunderstandings and make solving disputes easier;
- protect your website from misuse (we include paragraphs that form an Acceptable Use Policy, useful if your visitors can interact with your website, for example, by posting comments on a blog);
- protect your site from complaints about content that your visitors posted.
This set of T&C and the others listed below provide protection to sites that are "content rich" (in other words, provide text, images, videos and other media), and which require protection against misuse of that content. The templates differ in the level of interaction of site visitors with the site, and whether visitors pay on the site for access to the content.
Website terms and conditions template: news, wiki or community site; free-to-access model is suitable where content is primarily contributed by the users of the site and where the site aims to foster an open community. Examples of such sites would be free-to-access forums, wikis and community driven information portals. Like this template, it contains extensive provisions relating to use of content and interaction with the site and other visitors. It differs from the template above only in that it doesn't contain terms relating to on-site subscription for access.
Website terms and conditions template: news, review, information or community site: subscription-based business model is suitable if you charge a subscription fee to visitors to access your site. Example sites that would use this template would include online newspapers and magazines, sites that sell information such as reports through subscription, forums and information portals where visitors subscribe for access. The template contains extensive provisions relating to use of content and interaction with the site and other visitors.
If you are in any doubt as to which template you should choose, please contact us.
The law in this document
The law in these T&C is largely common law that deals with the basics of contracts: offer, acceptance, liabilities and risk. That means that, by and large, you can set the commercial terms you want. Our guidance notes will tell you what you can change safely.
This document contains paragraphs that provide some intellectual property protection, governing how your site content can be used by your visitors.
The terms and conditions template includes provisions that cover:
- Inclusion of data in the Directory (optional - for sites that collect and publish data);
- acceptable use policy: terms governing user posted content on your site;
- removal of offensive content;
- use of the website by children;
- security of your website;
- protection of intellectual property belonging to the site owner;
- other miscellaneous legal provisions to protect you (limitation of liability, warranties, exclusions, indemnities etc).
This document was written by an attorney for Net Lawman. It complies with current South African law.
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